DAR built on patriotism, service and historical preservation | News
The Daughters of the American Revolution, a lineage-based service organization, focuses on supporting patriotism, education, and historical preservation.
But, said Gail Matus, director of the southwest district of DAR in Pennsylvania, the nonprofit also places great emphasis on supporting the region’s many veterans.
“It’s the glue that holds DAR together,” said Matus.
DAR has 21 sections in the southwestern part of the state, including Fayette, Greene, Washington, Westmoreland, and Allegheny counties.
There used to be two chapters in the Uniontown area. With the two struggling for membership, the two have recently combined to form the Fort Necessity Chapter.
Matus, a member of a chapter in the Pittsburgh area, left his to join him and is its vice-regent.
At a recent meeting, members donated supplies to make 78 care packages to send to the Pittsburgh Veterans Hospital.
DAR is also one of the biggest contributors to Wreaths Across America, Matus said. The local chapter will lay wreaths at the cemetery of Great Bethel Baptist Church in Uniontown on December 18.
The local also donated to Fort Necessity and Connellsville Canteen.
“We are always on a tight budget,” said Matus, “but we try to use these historic places, to visit them and to promote them to highlight the historical value of these places.”
The organization also runs educational programs, including DAR Good Citizens. The program recognizes students for their reliability, service, leadership and patriotism.
“Our organization wanted to be service-based, so that’s our raison d’être,” said Matus.
Members of the DAR are women who are the direct descendants of a person who participated in the United States’ efforts for independence
The application process for membership is “very comprehensive,” said Matus. “You have to have a direct lineage back to a patriot. We do a genealogy based on lineage research (for potential members), and they must adhere to DAR genealogical standards. “
Those unsure if they are eligible for membership can attend a genealogy workshop at noon on February 5 at the Uniontown Public Library.
“We will… sit down with them and discuss their lineage and their roots and help determine if they are related to the revolutionary patriots,” said Matus, noting that the patriots were not just those who fought. They can also be those who have brought aid in the form of food or supplies, or have taken an oath in the country.
Since the founding of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1890, more than one million members have been admitted. By 2026, said Matus, the organization aims to have 250,000 active members to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the United States of America.
Matus said all chapters welcome new members or donations. For more information, contact the regent of a local from the list provided.